NEWCASTLE City Council bosses last night took a stand against the renaming of St James’ Park by refusing to change the signs directing people to the ground.

The Magpies board yesterday announced the change of the name to the Sports Direct Arena which they believe would help to secure a new global sponsor to generate more revenue.
But the City Council has criticised club owner Mike Ashley’s decision, saying “some things are beyond profit”.
Derek Llambias, the club’s managing director, said attracting a named sponsor for the ground could generate up to £10million a year, money which would be handed to manager Alan Pardew for use in the transfer market or used to reduce ticket prices.
But City Council cabinet member for quality of life, Henri Murison, said: “The name of St James’ Park has been synonymous with Newcastle United football club and the city for over a century.
“It is recognised around the world and the decision to change it, without consultation, will upset the overwhelming majority of fans who loyally support the team week in and week out.
“While I understand the commercial reasons for renaming sports venues when they relocate, this is not the case in this instance and some things are beyond profit when they mean so much to people.
“The football club is part of the beating heart of the city and while the city council values its relationship with the club, it has no plans to change any existing way-finding signs which bear the name St James’ Park.
“As far as the fans and Newcastle City Council are concerned, the home of Newcastle United will always be known as St James’ Park.”
Supporters groups also criticised the decision, although some fans say they can see the benefits of the name change, if it generates more money.
Steve Wraith, editor of the Toon Talk fanzine, said: “I am massively disappointed but not surprised as this seems to be a hallmark of the current regime to continually upset Newcastle fans.
“I think supporters could see the logic behind this if the club was benefitting in any way, but for Mike Ashley to say the money will be ploughed back into improving the team is unlikely.
“And the idea that ticket costs will go down is a non-starter.
“This is just one big PR stunt for the club, made during an international week when there is no club football to maximise publicity for Mike Ashley’s company.
“The simple fact is, the fans will never change. They will always refer to our ground as St James’ Park and never anything else.
“It is clear the council will not be changing their road signs or renaming the metro station and that is to their credit.”
Mark Jensen, editor of Newcastle United fanzine The Mag, described the decision as “all stick and no carrot.” He added: “The majority of supporters are not happy about this and they are surely the people that matter the most.” Martin Robson, of the Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust, said: “There is definitely some logic in this and other clubs have changed their names and generated revenue by doing so.
“It did not bring about the end of the world at the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City and it won’t do at Newcastle.
“If the money is used towards lowering ticket prices, that has to be a good thing.”
But Llambias insists the change will help the club’s finances.
He said: “Money is tight, football’s expensive and if we can make it cheaper to come, then that’s our job done. We are not disrespecting our fans, at all, far from it. We are trying to make it more affordable and put some new players on to the pitch.
“We need to generate cash flows and maximise our revenues and this is not new in football. It has been going on for a while.
“We have been compared with both Manchester City and Manchester United in terms of branding. But, realistically, we have not got those sort of funds here at Newcastle.”

Well, the commercial argument is good and with the team third in the Premier league and unbeaten this season the timing is near perfect but even these two factors combined aren’t sufficient to overcome the emotions attached to the grounds name. It’s a step too far. What next I wonder? Renaming the Milburn stand as the ‘Burger King’ or the ‘Kelloggs’ stand? Don’t laugh! It’s not beyond the realms of possibility!